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Woman fights for rights of families of organ donors
« on: July 05, 2011, 12:25:10 PM »

Woman fights for rights of families of organ donors
By Alisha George

When Toni Sochrin's son was killed, four of his organs were harvested and given to those in need in locations across the U.S. Now she's fighting to extend the rights of donor families such as hers.
Her son, Ben Sochrin, was 20 years old when a car struck his motorcycle in July 2008.
"My goal was for the donor families to have rights. [We're] asking that whoever receives [the organs] would give us the right to know who they are," said Sochrin, of Westminster.
Rather than have a liaison contacting donor families for recipients, she would like to get a personal message from the recipient, to know they are healthy, she said.
"Right now, everything is up to them," Sochrin said.
Her family can pass along information through the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, but it's up to the recipient if they want to then contact the donor family. The recipient can even refuse to see any letter that is sent from the donor family, if they so choose, she said.
Representatives from the office of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-District 6, have agreed to meet with Sochrin to discuss introducing legislation that would give more contact rights to organ donor families.
Sochrin said she has met with two recipients of her son's organs, but the other two recipients have not gotten in touch with her, despite her efforts.
"That's taking part of my child," she said. "This is life we've given to them."
Not having contact with the recipients is preventing closure, Sochrin said. Though she knows they may be feeling recipient guilt, she doesn't think the recipients are the only ones who should have the right to decide whether to contact the donor family.
Sochrin felt this was an important cause to pursue, not just for her family but for all organ donor families.
Faye Powers, legislative assistant at Rep. Barlett's Washington, D.C., office, said the meeting to discuss Sochrin's viewpoints will determine if the office wants to research the issue further.
"We haven't committed to anything yet," she said.
There are a lot of privacy issues at stake that may prevent other members of Congress from getting involved, Powers said.
"We understand what she's looking for, but we don't know if it's possible," she said.
Sochrin remains hopeful that the other two organ recipients will still get in touch with her family.
"Hopefully, one day, they will pass a law, so we have rights in this, too," she said.
Unrelated directed kidney donor in 2003, recipient and I both well.
626 time blood and platelet donor since 1976 and still giving!
Elected to the OPTN/UNOS Boards of Directors & Executive, Kidney Transplantation, and Ad Hoc Public Solicitation of Organ Donors Committees, 2005-2011
Proud grandpa!


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